The nature of the boundary between stable cycling and ratcheting is discussed using several illustrative example scenarios. The examples are analyzed in the context of the elastic methods currently in the ASME Code to demonstrate the conservatism of the existing approach that exists in some cases, and the unconservative estimation that exists in others. It is shown that the limit on the linearized primary plus secondary stress range can be related to conditions for elastic shakedown in certain kinematic hardening models of plasticity, while the limits on thermal stress ratchet address only scenarios similar to the Bree problem.

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